Credits Editorial & Creative Direction
Simon James Michael Jenkins
Copy Editor Lucy Chamley
Cover Photography Mark Newton
Contributing Writers Ray Bailey
The articles published reflect the opinions of the
respective authors and do not necessarily represent
the views of the publishers and editorial team.
Connor Murphy Brody Rossiter
ÂŠ Hop & Barley LLP. All rights reserved. All
material in this publication may not be reproduced, transmitted or distributed in any form without the
written permission of Hop & Barley.
Dan Burns Mark Newton
Hop & Barley reserve the right to accept or reject any
article or material and to edit this material prior to publication.
Illustration Yulia Shevchenko
Printed in the United Kingdom by Pressision on FSC certified paper.
Cover | Fedrigoni Symbol Freelife Satin 350gsm
Text | Fedrigoni Arcoprint EW 120gsm
Rastal GmbH Simply Hops Five Points Brewing Co.
Hop & Barley is a proud member of
Bristol Independent Publishers (BIP)
UK Brewery Tours
Vigo Ltd Bristol Beer Week
Hop & Barley was launched by
A Trip Down the Rabbit Hole
Tasting: Mad Hatter
In conversation with... Steven Burgess
Spring Lamb Stew
In conversation with... Kevin Ryan
Letter from the Editors This volume comes from a city close to our hearts; a city of fine friends and fond memories. Fiercely independent and unashamedly proud, Liverpool is a city unafraid to plough its own furrow. From a once fractured brewing industry, a new wave of purveyors and producers are emerging and leading a cultural change in the city.
From the forgotten brewery who brought a little of the monastic to Merseyside, to the brewers on a journey of bold new tastes; our extensive exploration of the city reveals stories underlined by innovation and determination. Away from Liverpool, we speak to renowned designer Milton Glaser, about his enduring relationship with Brooklyn Brewery and the challenges of maintaining a brand for more than thirty years. Finally, we enjoy a beer with Service Brewing Co.â€™s Kevin Ryan, a former infantry officer whose commitment to supporting charitable organisations goes beyond simple patriotism, but is driven by a desire to effect change within his community. Mike, Simon & Nick
A Trip Down the Rabbit Hole Words: Sam Turner • Photography: Mark Newton
“I think it was probably Penny Lane at a guess?” “I said American Psycho …or Red Rum.” Gaz Matthews and Sue Starling, founders of Mad Hatter Brewery, are debating which was the first beer that they ever made available commercially. They’ve got a packed mental rolodex to flick through before they can settle on one of the many whimsical titles. En route, there’s mention of established favourites like Toxteth IPA and Nightmare On Bold Street; then there are the newer titles like Tzatziki Sour and Easy Imbiber. They are all characters in Mad Hatter’s illustrious story so far. A story which is about to enter a new chapter. The brewery, set up on a budget of £1,000 and access to Gaz’s parents’ credit card, has been a lesson in DIY ethics, staying true to a vision and not shying away from bold experimentation. I’m joining the two directors (Sue, Managing Director and Gaz, Head Brewer/Director) as they prepare to make the third move of the brewery’s four-year lifespan which will take them to Liverpool’s North Docks area. It’s a move to an altogether more spacious, polished and professional set-up, and a sign of how the brewery has established itself in the industry having grown from very humble beginnings. “Really, looking back on it none of it should have worked,” Sue tells me from a small office above their third premises situated in the Baltic Triangle (previous homes have been their original base in Toxteth, and a relatively short-lived brewery tap set-up on Jamaica Street, also in the city’s trendy Baltic Triangle). “It was just at the right time really; there wasn’t another brewery in Liverpool, apart from Liverpool Craft, but we’ve always been quite different from them.”
Different is the right word. From the off, Mad Hatter made themselves known as a brewery who were keen to experiment, every beer packed with hops, the odd basil leaf thrown in, and a commitment to brewing with live yeast. “When you start out you’re looking for your USP,” Gaz tells me, referring to the live yeast pledge; “When you really get into home brewing you tend to switch to live yeast, make up starters and cultures. That’s always been a big thing for me because when you’re making Belgian beers, it’s all about the yeast.” On the whole, Gaz and Sue’s home brewing instincts have obviously served them well. Sue admits that the kit they have been using is basically a home brew system, but now it’s time to upscale, for reasons of efficiency and the work life of their dedicated team. “People’s working lives aren’t very fulfilling here. [Lead Brewer] Angus is brewing twice a day Monday to Thursday (he has Friday off). So it’s about efficiency and making sure things aren’t so labour-intensive,” she tells me as she excitedly lays out the main reasons for moving to the new premises. The new home has a system which allows a twenty-barrel brew in one cycle. This would take five cycles on the current set-up. There’s obviously been a lot of learning on the job for both Sue and Gaz. Gaz learnt brewing techniques inside-out, along with the minutiae science of yeast, time management and all the other disciplines which come with upscaling from 014
home brewing to a demand-heavy commercial brewery. Sue, however, wouldn’t have it any other way. I ask about the two of them having an academic background in philosophy rather than anything remotely business-orientated; “I don’t know if it’s useful to set up a business and to have a business qualification unless you’re setting it up with a lot of money,” she answers thoughtfully. “I think if you are setting something up with no money it would actually hinder you because you’d look at everything and say ‘well, that won’t work’. But if you have an idea of what you want to project your business as, and what you want your product to be, then that’s how you push it forwards.” The trajectory of the operation has quickly risen since their home brew beginnings. The constant moving of the brewing operation has partly been in response to the high demand which has met Mad Hatter’s weird and wonderful brews. Sue clearly has mixed feelings about the area they are leaving behind: “It’s been great being here but properties are at a premium in the Baltic Triangle area now. It feels like it could have been something different but it’s gone in a bit of a less interesting way. I think the area we’re moving to is an exciting one. It’s a great premises as well, it’s got lots of interesting things about it.” Liverpool’s North Docks – branded ‘Ten Streets’ by a council-led scheme to develop it into another flourishing creative hub like the Baltic Triangle – is home to the Invisible Wind Factory, the new venture from the team behind the storied Kazimier Club as well as a clutch of other food, drink and leisure orientated independents. “I want to have a brew tap open there and it would be nice to have events where there are food traders so as to be a bit more interesting than just beer,” Sue tells me when describing their future plans.
The Mad Hatter story is one in which everything seems to have aligned nicely for the company; limitations were turned into strengths, a restless passion for brewing translated into a journey of bold new tastes, and characters coming into the fold who faithfully represented the brewery’s philosophy. From the name and the distinctive aesthetic, through to the vibrant tastes and direction of the constantly rotating roll call of beers. “I think [the hand-drawn bottle designs and logo] goes really well with the beer and the way the brewery has been set up,” says Sue of artist Stealthy Rabbit’s designs. The crudely-drawn rabbit starring in the eyecatching illustrations perfectly encapsulates the lo-fi ethos of the brewery which, early on, translated into unknowable brewing results. Gaz takes up the narrative: “It was never the same each time, Penny Lane was 6.5% to start off with and it was like that for a while, and then it slowly came down. So if we did make the same beer twice, it was probably completely different.” Sue ponders how economic restraints also fed into the brewing strategy and how these worked out in their favour: “It was a function of not being able to afford to buy the malt and the hops; we’d buy all this stuff, but it wouldn’t work out as we’d change things and you’d just have stuff left over. So it was like ‘right, gotta make a beer and sell it so we can buy more ingredients’.” From here, a combination of the pair’s desire to experiment and push brewing boundaries with the typical financial considerations of a DIY start-up led to beers which caught the attention of a selection of bars in the North West (Port Street Beer House being an early adopter) and word quickly began to spread.
“ If someone had come along and said ‘I want to have a micro brewery, I want to invest half a million pounds in it,’ it would have been a very boring journey ” If such anecdotes make Mad Hatter come across as haphazard then this would be misrepresentative. It’s clear that Sue and Gaz have always had a clear vision of what they want the brewery to be, informed in part by their philosophical backgrounds. “We did that awful thing left wing people do and use that [Marxist] knowledge and turn it around the other way,” she says coyly. “So, thinking about what a commodity is and thinking about that magical thing that makes somebody want something. We had no budget for marketing obviously, so we thought what can we do differently that other people that are bigger, that have money, can’t do. So you can take risks, you can experiment, so that’s what we did from the start and to really tie in with Mad Hatter as an idea.” Anyone who has kept tabs on the brewery will have struggled to keep track of the huge variety of beer which has poured from Gaz’s imagination. The result has been a growing range of ales based on a host of traditions and pulled in new directions by tweaking recipes. Sue explains how they have eventually settled on a system to channel their thirst for providing a diverse range: “The first stage was [brewing] all these different beers all the time and then you get to a slightly bigger size and you make sure there is some consistency as well. So we made the decision to have a core range and then occasionals and seasonals.” A recent addition to the list of occasionals is Bandwagon, an aptly named beer which joins the current trend of producing intentionally cloudy IPAs in the New England style. “It’s always good to be a bit playful with things, to experiment,” Sue tells me. The beer is an example of a modern ironic name meeting with a brew concept to create something which is very Mad Hatter. The brewery has thrived on creating a range which puts a twist on tradition and packages it with a knowing sense of Scouse humour. Sue puts this down to their willingness to take a risk from the beginning: “When we started out, if someone had come along and said ‘I want to have a micro brewery, I want to invest half a million pounds in it,’ it would have been a very boring journey.” With their madcap selection of beer, the designs which adorn them and the brewery’s short history, there is not much chance of things getting boring at Mad Hatter. The brewery, along with its bar and event space, will make an exciting new Left Mad Hatter's old brewery in the city's Baltic Trianlge.
neighbour on Liverpool’s Ten Streets and we look forward to hearing how the Mad Hatter story develops.
Tasting Mad Hatter Words: Nicholas Dawes, Liz Dodd & Brody Rossiter • Photography: Simon James
As a brewery that’s built a reputation for brewing progressive, left-field beers, there’s no shortage of diversity in the Mad Hatter portfolio. The following six beers are by no means an exhaustive review, but represent a good cross-section of the brewery’s range. Penny Lane Pale and Toxteth IPA cover the more ubiquitous styles, and though relatively discreet within the context of other beers in this feature, demonstrates the brewery’s technical competency. At the other end of the spectrum, Tzatziki Sour – a Berliner Weisse designed to mimic the flavours of the classic Greek sauce – is the embodiment of the brewery's more creative and playful brews. This uniquely inventive beer has garnered a loyal following since former brewer, Paul Spraget, created the recipe following a holiday in Greece. Despite the beer’s unusual inspiration, it shows Mad Hatter’s willingness to experiment, and their impressive knowledge of flavours. Beers such as Old Brown and March Hare display an ability to create both faithful recreations and inventive interpretations of classic Belgian styles.
influenced by lead brewer Angus Morrison’s passion and knowledge of the region’s beers, we’re excited to see the brewery develop more beers of this ilk. Tasting notes are provided by; Liz Dodd (LD), It Comes in Pints?; and Brody Rossiter (BR), Honest Brew.
Penny Lane Pale Pale Ale 3.9% LD: As someone who naturally gravitates towards super strong, super juicy pale ales – and pays for that the next morning – I was astonished to find Mad Hatter have managed to cram all the punchy, boozy sweetness I love in double and triple IPAs into this 3.9% pale. It pours a sticky, amber, enticing glass, with a slightly off-white, lasting head. On the nose, it smells overwhelmingly like tropical fruit – as you’d expect from a beer so generously hopped with the US hop superstar pairing of Simcoe and Mosaic – and tastes like mangoes and caramel, with a really full-bodied mouthfeel. A fantastic beer for hopheads, with a greatly reduced risk of hangover. Mad Hatter also brews a double, but at a mighty 7.4% you might need to stock up on the aspirin if you intend to down the same number of bottles. BR: In my ears the chiming piano chords and sporadic brass of The Beatles’ Penny Lane. In my eyes a mischievous big eared mascot and a striking amber hue. Spritely carbonation results in a pillowy white head. The pungent, sweet aroma of ripe fruit struggling to contain its juices beneath a blistering sun is inescapable. A summer crumble of peach, pears and plums topped with healthy spoonfuls of brown sugar and subtle spice – perhaps a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice on the side. The bitterness of a sessionable pale is present, but a citrusy zing dances across the tongue before all else. A surprisingly oily body and significant depth of flavour – this is one session you won’t tire of.
Tzatziki Sour Berliner Weisse 4.2% LD: The name is the only real clue to what is going on behind the scenes with this gorgeous beer. The cloudy pour – almost like a flat cider – gives nothing away, and on the nose it has the usual characteristics you’d expect from a sour. There’s some yeasty funk, lots of sour fruit, and then something else indistinguishably sharp and herbal. It’s there on the palate as well, a sort of strange, juicy freshness that really does make the beer taste – not unpleasantly – like Tzatziki. Turns out, that’s because it’s brewed using Greek yoghurt, with added cucumbers and mint soaked in the Greek spirit ouzo. If that sounds like a terrible thing to do to a Berliner Weisse, think again: this sour is moreish, with the cucumber and creamy yoghurt taking the edge off the tartness. BR: One of the most divisive and unique beers being brewed by not just Mad Hatter, but any UK brewery – a real character. First impressions come in the form of a surprisingly sweet aroma as the bottlecap is removed. Aniseed is also present thanks to the ouzo. Pale and bright yet increasingly hazy as it fills the glass. The sourness of the Greek yoghurt is there on the nose. A shallow thin head quickly disappears. Cucumber, sour cream, liquorice and mint on the palate. I remember this one being far more intense last time I enjoyed a bottle. More citrus fruit this time around – it’s a far more approachable and familiar sour beer now. Dryness defines the mouthfeel above all else. Refreshingly mind-bending.
Toxteth IPA IPA 6.5% LD: Giving off a strong citrus smell – the same as if you’d just lopped a grapefruit in half – Toxteth IPA pours a cloudy glass with a very fine head. There’s a bit of caramel, burnt sugar and a little piney resin to it as well, which leads you perfectly into its classic IPA flavours. The grapefruit is still dominant here, but it’s creamier, sweeter and more juicy; rounding into a satisfyingly bitter finish. The beer, named after the brewery’s tiny original site in Toxteth, Liverpool, clocks in at 6.5%, which is nothing to sniff at. But here the booziness is justified and not gratuitous, giving depth and softness to the sharp citrus hops. BR: A beautifully balanced beer, Toxteth IPA introduces itself with a golden yellow pour. The beer’s clarity is mirrored by its clean aroma. Freshly squeezed lemons and notes of tangerines peeled with heavy hands sing. An American hop trio of Simcoe, Amarillo and Centennial finds its voice. Floral aromas bloom – a brisk stroll through Sefton Park jumps to mind. Oily and resinous across the lips, like tree sap sticking to your trainers. The first sip reveals more citrus, melon, soft peaches and sticky caramels that glue to your teeth. A bittersweet finish tops things off; picture a hefty sprinkling of sugar on your morning grapefruit. Nothing particularly “mad”, about this one, and there needn’t be. A zesty, piney and highly drinkable north west coast IPA.
Nightmare On Bold Street Stout 5.3% LD: A great, uncompromising pitch black pour, this milk stout smells thick and treacly, with a slightly nutty nose, a little chocolate and lots of fresh coffee – not a surprise, because it’s brewed with beans from Liverpool’s first speciality coffee shop, Bold Street Coffee. But where you’d expect a sort of sugary mocha taste, Nightmare manages a mature, bitter balance. Like strong dark chocolate, there’s a little smooth sweetness, and maybe some banana, but it’s nowhere near what you’d expect from the smell. That’s no bad thing: Nightmare entices you with an easy, Dairy Milk softness, and leaves you with a grown up cacao robustness. BR: As black as a moonless night with a voluminous Caramac-coloured head. An impenetrable beer. The only sight visible is that of your own mystified reflection. Deep coffee, dark chocolate, and winter berries on the nose. Roasty and sweet like marshmallows toasting on a campfire. The first full-bodied gulp ushers in more of the rich Has Bean coffee. Its bitterness is offset by the sweetness of the lactose. Earthy, woody notes of charcoal and a bite of biscuity malt arrive. Admittedly this is one of my favourite UK beers, and one which develops fantastically in the glass. Far from a nightmare, yet perfect for keeping you awake.
March Hare Pale Ale 5.5% LD: There’s a huge, fruity aroma to this golden ale, which pours a crystal clear gold glass with a creamy head and some fine lacing. Brewed with Belgian yeast, it’s got plenty of honey, mango and orange on the nose, but is surprisingly crisp – even a little bitter – to taste. There’s some lovely, lively richness to the yeast – it’s not all banana-y esters, I got flowers and strong Parma Violets as well – probably because Mad Hatter brews with specially selected live yeast cultures. Overall, March Hare is very balanced – there’s a bit of sweetness and honey from the pale malt, but it’s all counteracted by the slightly chalky, citrus bitter finish. BR: Pours a deep burnt orange shade with bright white head that quickly dissipates. Floral and earthy on the nose – reflective of its seasonal nature – there’s some sliced pear and whole peppercorns too. Smooth with a substantial body. Rich biscuity malt and fruity yeast gifts a honey sweetness quickly complemented by stone fruits and a hint of clove. There’s light funk and orange zest that soften the dryness of the finish. More toffee sweetness arrives as the beer warms. The contrast between the candy-coated introduction and bitter exit becomes more evident, as does the creamy mouthfeel and satisfying tartness. A very enjoyable interpretation of a Belgian brew that awakens the senses in preparation for a vibrant springtime.
Old Brown Flanders Oud Bruin 7.2% LD: My pick of the bunch; Old Brown tastes for all the world like a bottle of Rodenbach Grand Cru, a beer that I love so much I once cycled from London to Roeselare in Belgium to taste it fresh from the brewery. Old Brown is brewed in the same traditional style – it’s a Flemish Oud Bruin – so it smells like sour cherries despite never having seen a cherry, and pours a light, malty brown with a thin head. It is, as you’d expect, sour – but in the gloriously rich way Flemish brown ales usually are; slightly yeasty, a little bit irony and metallic, and with some intriguing closing liquorice notes. Definitely worth getting on your bike for. BR: A treacly shade of burnt umber that grows more opaque toward the bottom of the glass. The aroma of sour cherries and liquorice arrives first. Vinous red wine notes, luxury Christmas cake that hasn’t skimped on the dried fruit or sherry, and the scent of a trusty leather jacket all follow. A tangtastic tartness ripples across the palate in sharp waves, helped along by the moderate carbonation. As the tartness subsides it allows a jammy, plummy sweetness to take over. Sour and sweet – flavours drawn from Oud Bruin age. More subtle than other examples of the style, but a well-developed beer that offers quality and complexity with every sip.
Exploring Liverpool Words: Connor Murphy • Photography: Mark Newton
Once famous as the city with a pub on every corner, Liverpool is one of those places where it’s never been difficult to get a good drink. And in that respect at least, little appears to have changed. Even though the landscape has changed indelibly – a tough industrial past softened in the transition to vibrant modern city – the pubs still possess a magnetic attraction. Grand old boozers suck you in with their splendour, and underground drinking holes hold dark, decadent appeal. Many of those famed corner pubs fell victim to urban decay and later to urban renewal. A number of streets that might be expected to be bookended by such hostelries have either been ripped out and replaced or stand boarded up in a spooky state of permanent purgatory. But their loss doesn’t detract too much from Liverpool’s charm. Ironically, it isn’t volume that the city boasts these days – it certainly doesn’t seem to match Manchester or Leeds for sheer number of good beer venues – but character and quirkiness. That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise though. Liverpool has built itself on a sense of ‘otherness’, never afraid to raise a finger to the establishment. The people consistently strive to blaze a new trail instead of following an old path.
It’s a city of real beauty; that is to say a beauty tinged with a rugged, gritty authenticity. A sense of calm instilled by its proud position on the water is offset by the constant bustle of an unforgiving urban landscape built on gruelling dockwork. It may not be picture-postcard pretty, but Liverpool is a fascinating city in which to take a beer voyage thanks to its melding of rich history with a desire for difference. Nowhere is that history more evident than in The Baltic Fleet, which stands majestically over Wapping Docks at the heart of the Baltic Triangle area. Given the name, the pub predictably has a strong nautical feel; the building’s shape and its mixture of Georgian and Victorian architecture giving it the appearance of a vast ocean liner run aground long ago. Built in the 1850s, the pub was very much a part of old dock life, a fact highlighted by the two ‘secret’ tunnels that run from its cellar to the dockyards, with another leading to the old red light district of Cornhill. It acted as a hub for the motley crews of whatever vessels were at dock to satisfy their cravings for beer and female company. Nowadays, activity beneath the pub is more mundane and the cellar has become famous for the microbrewery contained within its cramped confines – Wapping Brewery. Unfortunately, the pub stopped employing a permanent head brewer 042
in late 2015 and Wapping Summer Ale is the only beer still in regular production. This move has possibly caused The Baltic Fleet to lose a little of its magic. It’s a pub that knows its lane and sticks to it – which is not necessarily a bad thing – so the beer range is cask-heavy and more traditional in focus, peppered with favourites from Neptune, Phoenix and Brimstage. It remains iconic but could possibly benefit from more awareness of the huge changes happening around it, both in the beer industry and the city itself. Another pub that doffs its cap to Liverpool’s maritime history is The Ship and Mitre, situated a short walk from Lime Street station. It’s a fabulous curiosity that blends classic cruise liner with German beer hall, wrapped in a striking, original art deco shell. Inside, brass railings and porthole windows clash with woodencladded walls and heavy-beamed ceilings, but these conflicting features combine to create a strangely welcoming feel. The beer selection is more varied than in the Baltic Fleet, with more old-school cask choices sat next to a handful of kegged delights from modern craft breweries, all with a distinctly northern accent. As if that wasn’t enough, the fridges are filled with a whole host of European bottles, including such classics as Tegernseer Hell. But, in a way, the beer isn’t even the best thing about the place. There’s an almost tangible buzz in the air, even on a midweek lunchtime; a sense of joviality and warmth that makes it easy to while away the hours sat at one of the battered tables in a corner booth.
Following in a similar fashion, albeit on a smaller scale, is The Grapes on Roscoe Street – not to be confused with the pub of the same name on Mathew Street. A distinctive corner pub that dates back to the early 19th century, it’s one of those places that instantly puts you at ease and, despite its diminutive size, seems to offer plenty of corners and crannies to retreat for some peace and quiet. The tiled floor, dark wood bar and heavy iron radiators emphasise the pub’s historical roots, but the beer selection definitely isn’t stuck in the past. Its nine cask hand pumps feature a good mix of the straightforward and slightly left-field, and are usually littered with local heroes, such as Mad Hatter, Red Star and Liverpool Craft Beer Co. For those times when beer fatigue sets in, The Grapes even offers a selection of more than thirty rums and almost twenty gins. If the previous three venues were where the dockworkers of yesteryear might have propped up the bar, Fly in the Loaf feels like it might have attracted Liverpool’s great and good. Refurbished in 2014, it features a stunning marble-topped bar that runs virtually the length of the pub, making it feel more French brasserie than Scouse boozer. Outside it still boasts the proud Victorian frontage from the building’s time as the Kirkland Brothers’ Liverpool Vienna Bakery, complete with royal coat of arms to designate their status as bakers for Queen Victoria herself. The pub’s name even derives from the Kirkland Brothers’ slogan ‘no flies in the loaf’. Operated by Manx brewery Okell’s, it features a permanent cask selection from them, as well as an ever-rotating guest range on both cask and keg, although the beer list is not as varied as in any of the three previous venues. Of those pubs that offer a window into the past, Fly in the Loaf feels the least Liverpudlian but, like the others, it offers its own unique appeal. All of them take you on a journey through the city’s soul but, until recently, were not matched by enough venues that captured the essence of modern Liverpool.
“ The space is rough enough around the edges to appeal to those with an anti-establishment leaning, yet polished enough to attract a varied crowd of revellers ” Despite the city’s proximity to Manchester – and the similarities that run a lot deeper than most residents from either place would care to admit – it has lagged far behind in terms of pubs and bars that showcase the best of the bold, new craft beer scene. While there are now more than eighty breweries in operation across Greater Manchester, there are still only a handful in Liverpool, but the city has started to pick up pace in its efforts to catch up. A stone’s throw from The Baltic Fleet, Black Lodge perhaps encapsulates the recent changes in Liverpool better than most. Both microbrewery and tap room, 050
it sits in an unassuming warehouse in the rapidly changing Baltic Triangle area, amid artisan food producers and all-night raves. The old warehouses down by the docks offer new opportunities for small-batch producers – after all, Mad Hatter can also be found around the corner from Black Lodge – and it wouldn’t be surprising to see more of these spaces sprout fermenters and mash tuns in the years to come. Set up by some of the people behind Camp & Furnace, Liverpool Craft Beer Co. and The 23 Club, Black Lodge neatly captures a sense of urban cool. The space is rough enough around the edges to appeal to those with an anti-establishment leaning, yet polished enough to attract a varied crowd of revellers. Keg taps protrude from glazed tiles on the wall behind the bar, with the rapidly-changing range of beer brewed on site scrawled in black marker above them. Not every beer is a complete hit, which is to be expected from a young outfit still learning its trade, but quality standards are consistently solid across the range. The cute brewkit sits happily against the far wall and its small size means Black Lodge can stay flexible, producing everything from crisp, easy-drinking pale ales to fruit sours, a Belgian Red IPA and a monstrous Quad – all partnered by drool-inducing charcuterie boards.
“ Part secret speakeasy and part smugglers’ hiding hole, it has fast become one of the best places in this country for drinkers keen to get a feel for the cream of craft brewing ” Heading back into the city centre, subterranean drinking den The 23 Club is seen as a bit of an old hand in this craft business now. Opened in 2012 beneath the Clove Hitch restaurant, it pulls unwitting victims into its deep, dark recesses and spits them out hours later and often substantially worse for wear. The beer selection here is consistently top-notch, featuring virtually every common culprit from the modern British craft scene alongside plenty more from further afield. Part secret speakeasy and part smugglers’ hiding hole, it has fast become one of the best places in this country for drinkers keen to get a feel for the cream of craft brewing. The new kid on the block looking to snatch The 23 Club’s unofficial title as Liverpool’s craft mecca is Dead Crafty Beer Co. and the success they have savoured since opening in March 2016 suggests they are in with a chance. An abundance of natural light from the glazed shop front provides a very different feel to The 23 Club, even if both appear to have been heavily influenced by the New York bar scene. Exposed brickwork, higgledy-piggledy furniture and flowers stashed in used beer bottles shout ‘neighbourhood dive bar’, and despite being a city centre venue, Dead Crafty does have quite a ‘local’ feel. That’s down to the staff as much as anything else. Knowledgeable and approachable, they are happy to share recommendations and tasting notes on any of the twenty keg lines, or just shoot the breeze while you sip on a schooner perched on one of the tall barstools. Much like The 23 Club, the range is focused firmly on cutting-edge craft beer with an international flavour, although there is an outstanding selection of local bottles available from the fridges next to the bar. No other bar in Liverpool can match those two for choice but the knock-on effect of their success is that more of the places popping up around the city now realise that some thought needs to go into their beer range.
The Merchant on Slater Street appears to fall into this category. A huge space that combines bar, canteen and garden, it appears to have been furnished at significant cost ahead of its 2016 opening and aims very much for a sort of ‘industrial chic’. Long wooden tables and bench seats cover the beautiful floorboards, while the walls are adorned with chipped tiles, decaying plaster and faded paint on exposed brickwork. It even has its own on-site takeaway pizza joint and hosts music nights with high-profile DJs such as Mr Scruff and Mike Skinner. Keg fonts pouring a couple of macro lagers are clearly there to tick a box and are joined by a changing selection of guest keg and cask, drawn firmly from the craft end of the UK beer spectrum, as well as a decent range of cans and bottles in the fridges. It’ll never be the first name on a beer lover’s list of must-see places but it’s an attractive multi-use space combining good beer, food, music and art, while the garden space will really come into its own during summer. 058
The value of bars like the Merchant is potentially in introducing good beer to a wider audience of new drinkers, and the same could probably be said of the nearby Kazimier Garden, which is the best beer garden in the city. Kitted out in a DIY style – all reclaimed furniture and timber that looks as if it washed up on a beach – it feels like the innards of a pirate ship or some kind of secret retreat at Glastonbury Festival. When the barbecue starts roaring on summer evenings, the aroma is a clarion call for hungry passers-by. Pair that with live music, a changing range of quality cask and well-stocked fridges, and it becomes easy to see why it’s such a popular haunt. Liverpool’s strength lies in venues of this kind; their quirky charm shaped by the city’s past and the Scouse desire to plough a different furrow. It may not match up to fellow northern powerhouses Manchester and Leeds in terms of the depth and maturity of its beer scene, but it possesses an allure that remains hard to beat. A handsome, compact city centre, a friendly welcome and a respect for heritage will surely see it thrive in the years to come.
Our mapping feature seeks to uncover some of the city’s best bars, breweries and bottle shops – it's by no means an exhaustive list, but represents some our favourite places to enjoy a beer or recover with a coffee. It includes some locations which are beyond the scope of the map, but are just a short trip from the city centre and no less worthy of a mention.
3 Potts Brewing Co.
8 Russell Avenue, Southport PR9 7RD
Ad Hop Brewing
Unit B3 Prospect Street, Liverpool L6 1AU
Big Bog Brewing Company
74 Venture Point West, Evans Road, Speke, Liverpool L24 9PB
Black Lodge Brewing
4 Kitchen Street, Baltic Triangle, Liverpool L1 0AN
Home Farm, Brimstage Lane, Brimstage, Wirral CH63 6HY
The CRAFT Brewery
29 Part Street, Southport PR8 1HY
Glen Affric Brewery
Unit 3, Lightbox, Knox Street, Birkenhead CH41 5JW
461 Smithdown Road, Liverpool L15 3JL
Mad Hatter Brewing
23 Lightbody Street, Liverpool L5 9UU
The Liverpool Craft Beer Co.
10 Love Lane, The Railway Arches, Liverpool L3 7DD
Liverpool Organic Brewery
39 Brasenose Road, Liverpool L20 8HL
The Melwood Beer Company
The Kennels, Knowsley Park, Knowsley, Merseyside L34 4AQ
Unit 1, Sefton Lane Industrial Estate, Maghull L31 8BX
Peerless Brewing Company
8 Pool Street, Birkenhead, Wirral CH41 3NL
Red Star Brewery
54b Stephenson Way, Formby, Merseyside L37 8EG
Rock the Boat Brewery
6 Little Crosby Village, Liverpool L23 4TS
Top Rope Brewing
17 Bampton Road, Childwall L16 6AX
59 College Road, Crosby, Liverpool L23 0RL
62 Christchurch Road, Oxton, Birkenhead CH43 5SF
Penny Lane Londis
47 Penny Lane, Mossley Hill, Liverpool L18 1DE
Ship in a Bottle
45a Whitechapel, Liverpool L1 6DT
Tap & Bottles
19 Cambridge Walks, Chapel Street, Southport PR8 1EU
Bottle Shops –
Crosby Bottle Beer Shop
Pubs & Bars 08.
The Baltic Fleet
33a Wapping, Liverpool L1 8DQ
The Baltic Social
27 Parliament Street, Liverpool L8 5RN
5 Sugnall Street, Liverpool L7 7EB
4 Kitchen Street, Baltic Triangle, Liverpool L1 0AN
Manolis Yard, 8 Colquitt Street, Liverpool L1 4DE
438 Queens Drive, Liverpool L13 0AR
Dead Crafty Beer Co.
92 Dale Street, Liverpool L2 5TF
Fly in the Loaf
13 Hardman Street, Liverpool L1 9AS
60 Roscoe Street, Liverpool L1 9DW
Hard Times & Misery
2B Maryland Street, Liverpool L1 9DE
4-5 Wolstenholme Square, Liverpool L1 4JJ
Lady of Mann
19 Dale Street, Liverpool L2 2EZ
40 Slater Street, Liverpool L1 4BX
The Pen Factory
13 Hope Street, Liverpool L1 9BQ
104-106 Rose Lane, Mossley Hill, Liverpool L18 8AG
The Roscoe Head
24 Roscoe Street, Liverpool L1 2SX
Ship & Mitre
133 Dale Street, Liverpool L2 2JH
23-25 Dale Street, Liverpool L2 2EZ
77–79 Allerton Rd, Liverpool L18 2DA
Twenty Three Club
23 Hope Street, Liverpool L1 9BQ
West Kirby Tap
Grange Road, West Kirby CH48 4DY
24 Hardman Street, Liverpool L1 9AX
Bold Street Coffee
89 Bold Street, Liverpool L1 4HF
Cow & Co Cafe
15 Cleveland Square, Liverpool L1 5BE
Filter & Fox
27 Duke Street, Liverpool L1 5AP
unn ay T
unn yT wa
With kind support from
Fedrigoni www.fedrigoni.co.uk Fedrigoni have been refining the art of making quality speciality papers for more than 125 years. With striking surfaces, tactile textures and vivid colours, our papers can be pressed, cut and folded into almost any form you can imagine. Ultra-functional and wonderfully expressive, Fedrigoni papers can demand your attention or retire gracefully into the background. Take advantage of our fantastic services; a dedicated samples order department, an Imaginative Papers Studio in London and technical assistance from expert paper consultants. Discover our range of over 3000 different products and experience paper at its finest. Cover | Symbol Freelife Satin 350gsm Text | Arcoprint EW 120gsm
Rastal GmbH www.rastal.com In order to help brilliant craft beers make an instant and indelible impression in the beverage arena, Rastal has developed a variety of generic glass types for individual decoration. The Teku goblet has proved to be particularly coveted and versatile in this regard because it can be used as a tasting glass and as a drinking glass. The long-stemmed Teku goblet is the result of collaboration with Teo Musso, the famous Italian craft brewer and founder of Birra Baladin. The glassâ€™s stylistic borrowings from a red wine glass are clearly evident. In contrast to a wine glass, however, the Teku goblet features an outwardly curving rim that allows the beerâ€™s particular flavours and aromas to unfold into perfection.
Simply Hops www.simplyhops.com Simply Hopsâ€Ś. Simply the highest quality hops and hop derived brewing aids around. We love the role we take in the craft brewing industry every bit as much as the adventurous and creative brewers out there. If what we do helps you to create the most awesome ale, the daddy of doppelbocks or the most ingenious IPA, then were are happy hoppers. Weâ€™ve become a little bit obsessive about using as much of the hop as possible to provide everything a brewer needs, be it the hop based Hop Aid Antifoams, or our emulsion and PHA ranges, we help you push the boundaries of what can be crafted with hops.
The Five Points Brewing Co. www.fivepointsbrewing.co.uk The Five Points Brewing Company is an independent East London brewery that creates flavoursome, distinctive beers to the highest quality possible within a Victorian railway arch in Hackney. The beers we brew are unpasteurised and unfiltered for the best quality, flavour and aroma â€“ the sort of beer we enjoy drinking and hope you enjoy, too. In addition, we at Five Points strive to be a socially responsible business and employer, including being the first brewery in the UK to be a certified Living Wage employer. We are committed to reinvesting 5% of our profits into local charities and community projects.
Ilkley Brewery www.ilkleybrewery.co.uk Powered by History: Traditional English brewing techniques are combined with inspiration from across the world. Unrivalled quality from heart of Yorkshire since 2009. Powered by Malt: The Brewerâ€™s Eye for detail ensures quality and consistency. Only the finest ingredients are sourced for the drinkerâ€™s pleasure. Powered by Hops: Constant innovation and development. We brew beers to suit every palate, enlivening the beer choice and pushing boundaries. Powered by People: We are in it together. We have bold ideas. Each of us has a voice and we love what we do. Ilkley Brewery: Powered by Beer. Because beer matters.
UK Brewery Tours www.ukbrewerytours.com Since 2014, we’ve introduced over 3,000 guests to more than 20 independent breweries across 3 cities, helping them discover new beers and experiences along the way. We couldn’t have done this without the support of all the brewers involved and we’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who has helped us along the way – you know who you are! We’d also like to thank our tour guides in London, Bristol and Manchester for sharing their knowledge with our guests on our leisurely afternoon walking tours. In 2017 we are expanding to Leeds, York, Birmingham, Newcastle and beyond. Thank you!
vigo Vigo Ltd www.vigoltd.com A few years ago when we heard the first whispers amongst our craft brewing friends here in the UK about their desire to can, we started out on a journey. Our aim was to bring them the kind of canning machines they coveted from the US. So we set off to American Beer Equipment (ABE) in the heart of Nebraska. We were impressed with what we saw (and tasted) and started to supply their range. Some are calling it the ‘canning revolution’, some a ‘flash in the pan’, but we’re part of it and we love it. We hope you do too.
Bristol Beer Week www.bristolbeerweek.co.uk Bristol is a fiercely independent and constantly evolving city that understands the value of â€˜localâ€™ but remains open and inclusive to new people, cultures and scenes. It is a perfect base for the new wave of UK beer; a forward-thinking industry that thrives on change, innovation and diversity. Bristol Beer Week celebrates the wonderful people at the core of the Bristol beer scene, which is home to some of the country's most lauded small breweries and beer establishments. Now in our fifth year, we are proud to remain an independent organisation, run for the benefit of our local beer community. Bristol Beer Week runs from 14th to 21st October 2017
Passageway Brewery Words: Ray Bailey & Jessica Boak • Illustration: Yulia Shevchenko
More than twenty years ago there was an adventurous Liverpool micro-brewery both fêted and famous. It was the subject of adulation by the first generation of internet beer geeks. It featured in articles in the national press, their authors drawn by tales of mysterious Belgian yeast and holy water from the sacred well of St Arnold, patron saint of Belgian brewers. And yet now, in the age of BrewDog and Cloudwater, few recall the name of Passageway Brewery or its pioneering beers. Let’s set that straight. First though, a word on the difficulty of writing about the men behind this particular brewery: they seem to want to be left alone. Back in 2013 while working on a book, we got in touch with one of the co-founders, Phil Burke, who agreed to speak with us, albeit reluctantly, but then apparently got cold feet. This year we tried again but got no response. So, by necessity, this is a shadow portrait pieced together from archive material scraped from the far corners of the internet, yellowing newspapers, and the memories of those lucky enough to have tried the beer.
Back in the early 1990s, Phil Burke was working as a chemistry teacher at a secondary school in Liverpool. His laboratory assistant was Steve Dugmore. Accordingly, in the only contemporary photograph we’ve ever found, in a 1995 edition of the Campaign for Real Ale’s newspaper What’s Brewing, Burke is wearing a schoolmasterly shirt and tie while Dugmore is dressed less formally and stands laughing, apparently unshaven, hands in pockets. Friends outside of work, they enjoyed home brewing together and were inspired to take the next step by a television programme. Michael Jackson was the world’s pre-eminent beer writer from 1977 until his death in 2007 (some would argue that he retains the title even now). His TV show The Beer Hunter first aired in the UK on Channel 4 in 1989. In it, he toured the world introducing his viewers to the wonderland of beer. Thereafter it went into rotation on cable and satellite TV, which is perhaps how Dugmore and Burke came across it in 1993. In the fifth episode, ‘The Burgundies of Belgium’, Jackson visited Belgium and talked about Trappist beers accompanied by romantic footage of beer cafés, breweries and gorgeous looking beers served in elaborate glassware. Seeing this, something clicked for the two would-be brewers: what if they started brewing Belgian-style beer in Liverpool?
In the year or so that followed, Dugmore and Burke took commercial brewing courses and travelled extensively in Europe researching styles of beer beyond the bitter and lager then dominant in the UK. They scavenged defunct kit from Scottish & Newcastle, bought old dairy equipment at auction, and renovated an industrial unit in Queen’s Dock. They started trading at the end of 1994, maintaining their day jobs, brewing in the evening and at weekends. Phil Burke was, according to one contemporary account, ‘owner, brewer, cask-washer, drayman, salesman’. Their first brew, St Arnold, still sounds interesting more than two decades on. It was a brown ale at 5% ABV, hopped with Saaz, the classic Czech variety which defines authentic pilsner and gives a subtle herbal character. Most importantly, it used authentic Trappist yeast donated by a Belgian brewery. At the time, Burke and Dugmore refused to say which brewery was the source of the yeast but various clues point to Chimay. Local CAMRA veteran Steve Downing told us in an email that he and his colleagues were strictly forbidden from revealing the source of the yeast in beer festival programmes or tasting notes, but a 1998 account of a brewery tour by a member of Wirral CAMRA includes this anecdote: When setting up, he wrote to Father Theodore, an 86-year-old brewer in a Trappist monastery… Phil had used cultured yeasts in home brewing but had always had beer clarity problems. He was invited to visit the monastery and met Father Theodore. To his astonishment, he released some of the monastery yeast on condition that it was not passed on to any brewer.
“ It is Steve Downing’s suspicion that Phil Burke, ‘as a good Catholic’, will never break his promise – as much confirmation as we’ll ever get ” Chimay’s head brewer, interviewed on camera by Michael Jackson in The Beer Hunter episode mentioned above, happens to have been called Father Theodore, from which you can draw your own conclusions. It is Steve Downing’s suspicion that Phil Burke, ‘as a good Catholic’, will never break his promise – as much confirmation as we’ll ever get. So, in 1994, a Liverpool brewery was in essence producing a Belgian-style dubbel adapted for the English palate and, of course, at a lower ABV to accommodate our insistence on drinking by the pint. In the contemporary publicity photo mentioned above, Phil Burke is holding a religious icon – a statue of St Arnold – like a proud father presenting a new-born baby. Steve Downing says that statue usually sat above the fermenters. The connection to St Arnold went deeper, however: while he was picking up the yeast at Chimay, or wherever, Phil Burke also stopped off to collect a few gallons of water from a holy well in West Flanders. Some of that water – anywhere between a few drops and half a pint, depending on which story you read – was added to all of Passageway’s Belgian-style beers, accompanied by ‘a little prayer’, as Steve Downing recalls. In a 1996 interview with Ian Lynch of The Guardian, Burke acknowledged that it had generated good publicity too: ‘The large initial interest shown in St Arnold’s has been generated mainly because it contains holy water.’ Passageway’s quirky range also included full-strength takes on dubbel and tripel, brewed as Christmas specials. Beyond the Belgian influence, there were also German-style dark wheat beer, single-hop bitters using the then cutting edge hops from New Zealand and America, and a Bavarian-style smoked beer brewed for the Great British Beer Festival. In the mid-1990s this kind of experimentation was not perhaps as unlikely as you might think. In 1989, Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government made it compulsory for brewers with large estates of pubs to make room for a ‘guest beer’ – an idea with which we are all familiar today but which was an alien concept back then. At the same time UK supermarkets were getting into so-called ‘Premium Bottled Ales’. All of this fuelled a boom in micro-brewing which had previously been stifled by the lack of outlets for its products. Publicans, given the freedom to choose, sought novelty and variety to complement the mainstream beers supplied by the breweries to which their pubs were tied.
“ Burke and Dugmore slipped away, taking their vial of holy water and statue of St Arnold with them ” This manifested itself in various ways – the rise of the wacky one-off beer with novelty pump-clip, for example, and the launch of seasonal ranges from established breweries featuring wheat beers, porters and other marginal styles. It was in this climate, too, that golden ale took off, and into which Nethergate launched their Umbel Ale. Williams Bros found a fertile market for their heather ale, Fraoch, and for beers containing spruce and elderberry. Passageway was, however, as far as we have been able to ascertain, the only brewery exploring the possibilities of unusual yeast strains, perhaps understandably. Added ingredients (fruit, herbs) and exotic hops are a relatively easy sell, but yeast is trickier and its contribution to the distinctive character of a given beer can be hard to pin down. Burke and Dugmore’s hero, Michael Jackson, described St Arnold as ‘tart and 082
toffeeish’ when he included it on a list of essential beers from the North West of England in 1998. Less exalted drinkers were also impressed. Dickie Ticker of the comedy folk band The Lancashire Hotpots, who often sing about beer and pubs, recalls St Arnold as among the best pints he’s ever experienced and describes his brief encounter with it at the Wigan Beer Festival as ‘the ultimate one night stand’. Even after all these years, the taste haunts him: “It had a marmalade-ness about it that I haven't found anywhere else.” Steve Downing, gave very much a CAMRA loyalist’s assessment: “[It] was a typical Belgian beer but better in that it was cask and thus most flavours were magnified.” The brewery was lauded and reportedly breaking even by the end of 1995, leading to an expansion the same year. In 1996 and 1997, St Arnold won silver awards in the speciality category of CAMRA’s Champion Beer of Britain competition. That is usually a trigger for brewery expansion, supermarket contracts, and so on, but Burke and Dugmore never went all in. In 2001, after more than five years working two (no doubt similarly exhausting) jobs side by side, the brewery was wound up. The brew kit was sold to The Baltic Fleet who, under the stewardship of Stan Shaw, set up the Wapping Brewery in the basement of the pub, and Burke and Dugmore slipped away, taking their vial of holy water and statue of St Arnold with them.
Abbaye Notre-Dame de Scourmont Chimay, Belgium
In conversation with...
Steven Burgess Words: Nicholas Dawes • Photography: Dan Burns, Mark Newton & Smiling Wolf
Nuanced aromas and diverse flavours make beer a wonderful companion to food. As brewers continue to explore the many facets of fermentation, so the role of beer in the gastronomic experience becomes increasingly important. The craft movement is as relevant to our dining trends as it is our beer or coffee – the rise of the ‘popup’ is testament to our changing appetite for how we eat out. Whilst Liverpool’s beer and coffee culture continues apace, its food offering would appear to fall a little behind the curve, losing out to its northern neighbours of Manchester and Leeds. But there are rumblings of a renaissance, lead by – as in so many other cities – a new wave of boundlessly creative and fiercely independent young talent. Intrigued to learn more, we arranged to meet up with chef Steven Burgess, a leading light in the city’s food and drinks scene. Having originally studied graphic design, Burgess’ career could have taken a very different path, but having found it difficult to connect with the subject, he soon sought to apply this creativity to the food on our plates. His innovative, conceptdriven approach has seen him involved in a number of the city’s foremost culinary destinations. As food and drinks director of Camp & Furnace, he helped create one of the most exciting venues in the country, described by the Times as the second ‘coolest restaurant in the Britain’. His latest venture, Northern Fields, sees him return to the catering industry, delivering an eclectic mix of dining experiences at unique events across the country. A born and bred scouser, Burgess is clearly proud of his roots, but remains honest in his assessment of the city’s food and drinks scene. Though critical, he plays a supportive role, helping a number of fledgling startups find more permanent homes in the city.
We met Burgess in Black Lodge, and sat down to discuss beer, food and the city’s culinary culture...
Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into the food and drinks industry. After school I went to college to study graphic design but realised it wasn’t really for me. I ended up becoming a chef when I was nineteen, starting off at a place called the Tea Factory Bar and Kitchen, before moving on to work at the Malmaison hotel. I then worked with a catering company called Pickled Walnut. After working at various gastropubs around the north west, I ended up starting Rhubarb & Custard catering – that was six years ago now. Within about a year’s trading I was approached to get involved in a new venue, Camp & Furnace. I was food and beverage director there for four years; it was a massive success, we had a lot of fun. We introduced things that the city had never seen before – things like food slam, a Friday night street food concept. We brought in Michelin star chefs like Glynn Purnell and Ben Spalding, we were doing the high end stuff as well as the street food. It was all about the holy trinity of what’s 086
good on a night out; it’s music, it’s drink and it’s food – we just focussed on those three things and it worked very well. Being involved in such an ambitious project must have seemed quite daunting? Yes it was but then I knew the pedigree of the guys behind it; Simon Rhodes [Smiling Wolf], Miles Falkingham [shedkm, Union North, Buyers Club], Tim and Paul Speed [Elevator Studios] and James Moores [A Foundation]. It was mainly their vision, I was the one that executed the crazy ideas that we had. It always kept us on our toes, it was a very, very fun time of my life. After four years at Camp & Furnace you left to establish Albina, a restaurant in the small town of Crosby. Tell us about the concept for that. We went back through history to one of the oldest cookbooks [the Forme Of Cury, written by chefs to Richard II] which dates back to 1398. We took inspiration from it, reviving and reinventing the dishes. We wouldn’t even put a special on the menu without a good reason, without that heritage. We put dates against every item on the menu, so black pudding originated from 888AD, that’s how old it is! It was phenomenal to unearth all these forgotten recipes, people wouldn’t believe half the stuff we were telling them, like lasagna's a British dish – but it was all true. With that we gained a rosette and achieved a score of eight out of ten from the Guardian’s Marina O'Loughlin – the highest score the city ever had at the time.
“ No one thinks how good British food was and still is ” What made you want to explore this more traditional approach to British food? Curiosity; you always take things for granted, especially as a chef, and you don’t really question the heritage, so it was great to discover where a lot of the influences had come from. Much of it was influenced by chefs who had come over to cook for the King or Queen, and their recipes would determine the shape of our food culture. It’s always been there, but if you want to open a restaurant everyone just opens a tapas place or an Italian, no one thinks how good British food was and still is. A good example is Heston’s Dinner in Knightsbridge, a two Michelin restaurant which, after visiting, probably inspired us a little. He restores recipes that are hundreds of years old and makes them so exciting; he’s one of the best restaurateurs in the world because of it. But you’ve since moved on to establish Northern Fields. Following a difficult period at Albina, I went back to what had treated me well, which was the catering business. Rhubarb & Custard had always been in the background, but we recently rebranded to Northern Fields. It’s just flying at the minute, it’s an opportunity to go around the country to these amazing events, cook at these amazing venues and meet some amazing people; it’s varied, fun and eclectic. You’ve catered for some pretty large-scale events including Festival No. 6, tell us about the concept behind that. We run something called Dinner at Clough’s, a fine dining concept in the middle of a festival with Michelin star chefs joining us from around the country to do a lunch and a dinner service. We have three different chefs over three different days, feeding about 400 people a day, it’s fantastic. The festival is one the best places I’ve ever been... when it’s sunny. Last year it was biblically wet but Portmeirion’s an amazing place, it’s not hard to do good work there. Where do you see the role of beer in the modern gastronomic experience? I’m not going to give you the boring beer pairings, it’s been done, but what I do see more of is beer being used in food in unique and innovative ways. For example, we cure our salmon in porter, it stains it, gives it a really lovely colour and texture. Food’s coming back into beer essentially.
Do you think people's perceptions towards pairing beer with food are changing? Definitely – back in the day the standard of beer was nowhere near the level it is now. There are people developing beer just to pair with food, the biggest one was Ferran Adrià with Estrella. He developed a beer specifically designed to have with food and that was the first time I’ve seen that. I think people want more of it, it’s not about to slow down. Whilst I don’t think it will become as strong as wine, it will be very nearly be on a par. What are your thoughts on how Liverpool’s food and drinks scene has developed in recent years? To be frank, Liverpool is nowhere near as good as it should be, but there are some very good operators. Oktopus over there [gestures over to one corner of Black Lodge] are moving into premises next to Buyers Club, that’s a progressive move. The same with the guys from Secret Diners Club and Finca – they have a popup in Merchant and now they’re looking for a permanent site – I’ve been trying to help them because I want to see them succeed. The problem I’ve got is that people like that are few and far between, you’ve got 090
a lot of restaurants that open only to serve sub-standard food. It’s more about financial gain than raising the culture of the city’s food scene. It really annoys me. It seems as though Liverpool has lost a lot of ground to its northern counterparts, particularly Manchester and Leeds. It’s down to the size of the city, there aren’t enough sites, you’re either coming down to the Baltic where it’s a bit rough and tumble, or you’re trying to go down by Castle Street where the rents are extortionate. Bold Street doesn’t have any sites available any more so where do people go? Rather than trying to find somewhere in the city centre, people are moving to the suburbs to open restaurants. There’s going to be a few new exciting projects in Chinatown once that’s developed. There will hopefully be Wreckfish, which will be Gary Usher’s [Sticky Walnut, Burnt Truffle and Hispi] fourth site. To get Gary to come into the city will be a big coup. I love Manchester, I think the food scene is incredibly progressive, but then again it’s a much bigger city. There’s people there helping each other out. The property developer, Allied London, ran a competition called the Kitchens, where six independent street food vendors were selected to take residence in a new informal dining space in Spinningfields. They competed over twelve months, with the most successful concept winning a permanent unit on the site. I don’t know what the deal is, whether it’s reduced rent, but there’s nowhere like that in Liverpool, no one reaching out like that. The cultures not there.
In many cities, the increasing popularity of the ‘popup’ has changed not only the way we dine but also the way by which restaurants establish a name for themselves. Do you see something similar happening in Liverpool? Secret Diners Club is the big one, they operate in some amazing spaces across the city and the popularity is raving; tickets for their events sell out in ten minutes. You’ve also got the guys behind Finca, a Cuban street food concept who, until recently, had a residency at The Merchant. I really hope they get a permanent site because it’s exactly what the city needs, a bit of variety, not just another burger joint or somewhere that sells hot dogs. You’ve got this one [points to a small kitchen nestled in the corner of the bar] Oktopus popping up and moving to their site. Then there’s SKAUS, a Scandi popup and a sort of catering company essentially. Though Scandi food is a bit overdone, it’s a welcome bit of variety, I think they’ll be good. The big one again is Xiringuito, I would go down today if I were you. They’ve got a big following, a lot of chefs came up from London just to eat there. The restaurant is stunning, it’s like an art installation but it’s in an empty warehouse and does feel as though you’re going to get stabbed on your way there. It’s a roaming popup which started in Margate, but they’ve decided to extend their stay in the city – if they become a permanent resident that would be fantastic. More popups like that are good; it’s fun, it’s exciting. I guess it’s a way of testing a concept and gauging its popularity before you commit to anything. We love doing popups and Night Garden at Camp & Furnace on a Friday night is a great platform for them. Wreckfish were at last week’s, Maray are there all the time, we’ve done one before. It’s good to bring along a concept, as long as it’s unique and introduces people to something they’ve never tasted before. Do you think the rivalry between Liverpool and Manchester is to the detriment of the north west’s food and drinks culture? People in Manchester have, in the past, said that they would love something like Camp & Furnace in the city. There’s always been a desire for Manchester to have what we seem to be doing, but it’s never really translated back. With all the new development that’s going on in Liverpool, I hope the opportunity is taken by the operators to do something different. So rather than encouraging big chain operators, there should be some percentage allocated for smaller businesses, with lower rents and rates. People have got all these incredible ideas but they simply can't execute them because the startup costs are too high. The council should make efforts to see that changes.
“ Everyone has the right to different businesses in different cities, but it should contribute something to the city. It needs to think of the food scene as the bigger picture ” We’ve started to see some successful independents take their concepts beyond their home town, do you think this kind of expansion benefits the city? I’ve just finished reading Joe Bastianich’s book, Restaurant Man. In it he says; “You know you're really a restaurateur when you're opening up restaurants with different themes. You're not opening up the same restaurant over and over again.” 092
People do the same because they see the first concept works, why would they put themselves through the pain of establishing a new idea? It takes a very brave operator to do that. You shouldn't stay in your box essentially. Everyone has the right to different businesses in different cities, but it should contribute something to the city. It needs to think of the food scene as the bigger picture and to think of the city as the bigger picture. I hope that changes. Any exciting plans on the horizon? I’ve got a cookbook coming out around August. In truth it’s more of a brand book, so it encompasses everything that we do, tells our story, gives up some of our recipes and includes some amazing wine, beer and cocktails. That’s been a long time coming; I’ve wanted a cook book since I was nineteen, so it’s amazing to see it finally come to fruition.
Spring Lamb Stew Words & Photography: Simon James
A springtime stew is a terrific way to use up those leftover winter vegetables, but combined with some spring seasonals, it’s a fantastic addition to freshen up a wintery dish. Now in season, the asparagus adds a welcome flash of green and a satisfying crunch to the dish. This stew is a perfect served on its own, although some crusty bread to soak up the juices never hurt anyone.
Method Pre-heat a large oven-proof pan on the hob with a generous drizzle of olive oil. While this heats, toss the diced lamb in the flour ensuring that it is completely coated. When the oil gets up to temperature, place the lamb in the pan, shaking off the excess flour. Keep turning the lamb until a nice even brown crust has formed; if it starts to stick and looks like it will burn, add a small amount of the beer to deglaze the pan. Whilst the lamb browns itâ€™s time to prep the vegetables. Finely chop the garlic, slice the red onion and fennel into thick strips, and cut the remaining root vegetables into two-to-three centimetre cubes (leave the asparagus alone at this point as this will be added just before serving). Once the lamb has developed a nice caramelised coating, add in all the chopped vegetables and cook until it begins to soften. Pour in the saison and stir the stew ensuring there is nothing stuck to the bottom. Add the sprigs of thyme and season well with salt and pepper. Cover with a lid and place 096
in the oven for thirty minutes.
Beer choice Saisons work great for these types of stew as they bring a
light, fresh element to the dish. I used an orange sour saison, which I had brewed previously (recipe can be found in Hop
400g of diced lamb
& Barley Volume 05). One thing to take into account when
4 small carrots
selecting your saison is to make sure the beer isnâ€™t too hoppy.
3 baby turnips
When hops are added towards the end of the boil or during
100g of pearl barley
fermentation, they produce some amazing floral and fruity
A small bulb of fennel
flavours, but when cooked for an extended period of time,
3 cloves of garlic
the flavours can dissipate leaving behind a bitter taste in your
330ml of saison
A red onion A small bunch of parsley
If you donâ€™t fancy having a go at making the beer yourself,
A few sprigs of thyme
Saison Dupont would work well in this recipe or perhaps
A big pinch of salt and pepper
experiment with some of the different saison variations from
A drizzle of olive oil
Brew By Numbers.
A tablespoon of plain flour
Words: Nicholas Dawes
In 1986, Brooklyn Brewery founder Steven Hindy was on the hunt for a designer to create an identity for his fledgling business. After interviewing more than thirty firms however, he grew increasingly frustrated by their lack of original thought; “None of them were telling me anything. Instead, they were trying to sell me with flattery,” he recalls. “My wife said, ‘why not call the best in New York?’” So Hindy rang the office of Milton Glaser, a renowned designer, whose work includes the “I ♥ NY” logo and slogan, founding the New York magazine, and that Bob Dylan poster. It would mark the beginning of a thirty-year long partnership – and personal friendship – that continues to this day. In an increasingly saturated market, the struggle for brands to make an impression is more difficult than ever. To keep pace with modern society – where consumer trends are ever changing and brand loyalty is fleeting – companies will hire ofthe-minute agencies to refresh their visual identity in a bid to stay relevant. That Brooklyn and Glaser have been collaborating for longer than many brands have been around – let alone worked with a single agency – is a rarity. We spoke to Glaser and Hindy about their partnership; how it began, how it’s evolved, and their secret to an enduring friendship.
In 1984, Hindy ended a five and a half-year tour as Middle East Correspondent for the Associated Press. During his time there, he befriended diplomats based in Saudi Arabia who, faced with the prohibition on alcoholic beverages, turned to homebrewing to quench their thirst. After returning to New York and inspired by this experience, Hindy began brewing in his apartment, eventually enlisting the help of his neighbour, Tom Potter, to establish Brooklyn Brewery. As a reporter, Hindy wasn’t afraid to cold call Glaser’s studio, but more than met his match in Glaser’s assistant, Eva. “It was more like a challenge when she told me he did not talk to everyone who called his studio,” he tells us. “I was determined to get to meet him, the same way I would not give up when a government official or politician tried to stonewall me. The rejection brought out the reporter in me. I was going to meet this guy, dammit.” His persistence paid off, and after months of repeated phone calls to the studio, Glaser agreed to a five minute meeting with the intrepid entrepreneurs. Hindy and Potter were intent on building a brewery which would pay homage to the rich history of the borough – the name, Brooklyn Eagle Brewery, even referenced the venerable Brooklyn Eagle newspaper which ceased production in 1955. “Why don't you eliminate the eagle and take the borough,” Glaser told Hindy on hearing their proposal. “The borough will ultimately be a lot more valuable than the bird will be.” This wasn’t a popular view in the mid 1980’s, a time when the borough 100
was considered a symbol of crime and urban decay. But both Glaser and Hindy identified that something was happening in Brooklyn, and they wanted to be part of it. Having been won over by Hindy’s and Potter’s back story, Glaser decided to work with the pair and even offered to waive his usual design fees in exchange for a stake in the company – a stake now worth millions. A shrewd move, but as Glaser explains, his decision was about more than financial gain; “The relationship which is ideal, when you can find it, is one of ‘lets doing something together’. Our relationship was one of optimism, and good will, and we just did it.” Hindy’s vision for the brand, whilst ingrained in Brooklyn’s rich culture, also sought to reignite the proud tradition of brewing in the borough. “I wanted a label that referenced Brooklyn’s great bridge, the legacy of the Brooklyn Dodgers and its industrial past. Brooklyn once was home to forty-eight breweries. Light beer was invented in Brooklyn, at the Rheingold Brewery. Of course I had no idea how to convey all that in a beer label, but Milton did,” he tells us. A few days after the initial consultation, Glaser presented his idea for the logo; a cursive ‘B’ surrounded by a green circle. The restrained yet confident script was meant to evoke a swirl of foam, but as Hindy recalls, it wasn’t love at first sight; “When Milton unveiled the label, I said, ‘That’s it?’ He told me to take it home, put it on my kitchen table, show it to my wife, live with it. So I did, and the beauty and depth of the fluid ‘B’ finally sunk in.”
“ Some of the great work of our time, came out of personal relationships between individual designers and their clients ” The design was informed by traditional German beer labels, a conscious move by Glaser to give the fledgling brand a sense of authenticity – the bold yet approachable identity stood apart from the typically homespun visuals of other breweries at the time. With a Milton Glaser-designed logo on the cover of their business plan, Hindy and Potter were able to raise $500,000 to get their business up and running. Glaser’s relationship with the brewery went far beyond that of a designer however; his blunt 102
yet honest approach clearly resonated with Hindy, and over the years has become a trusted adviser and friend. Glaser credits some of his most successful work down to the commonality and affection he shares with the client: “That has always been the key element with everything I’ve ever done. If I like the person – and have a direct relationship with them – I found the work came out better than if it was a business relationship. Some of the great work of our time, came out of personal relationships between individual designers and their clients, like George Nelson and Herman Miller. They have the same agenda, which is the success of the organism and idea of excellence. “Where the objective really is to produce distinctive, unusual work; you find that the best work occurs. If you put it into the commercial grist mill, what you find is that you get predictable results that look like everything else, which is why if you go into the market everything looks alike.”
Over the years, Glaser has designed every single label and identity for Brooklyn Brewery’s new beers, which equates to hundreds of labels across the brewery’s thirty year life. Though pressures to refresh or change the brand have crept into the business, Hindy has maintained faith in Glaser’s expertise. Recently, the brewery embarked upon a significant packaging refresh with Glaser. Balancing a bold, fresh aesthetic with fidelity to the brand, it was a case of refinement rather than redesign, and sought to address the challenges of shelf merchandising – something the brewery has little control over. The original boxes were interpretations of the beer’s label; but the refreshed packaging seeks to emphasise the Brooklyn brand, with a prominent logo wrapping around each of the box's four corners. A bold, gothic typeface and restrained colour palette retains the identity of each style; the simplified language is more cohesive and ties together the wide variety of styles across the Brooklyn range. Now, when two boxes are placed next to each other, the two halves of the logo join and create a billboard-like effect. With over 45% of its beer now sold overseas, Brooklyn is the largest craft beer exporter in the US. This year could see that figure rise to over 50%, as sales in the US beer market become increasingly competitive. The change in packaging reflects this growth, as the brand looks to strengthen its presence in the export markets. The brewery is proud of its role in Brooklyn’s cultural renaissance and remains committed to supporting initiatives throughout the borough. When the brewery created a limited edition lager to celebrate its silver anniversary, it commissioned local artists – Fred Tomaselli, Roxy Paine, Joe Amrhein and Elizabeth Crawford – to design unique works of art for the labels. “The artists who participated in the Silver Anniversary Lager series were artists I had met in my three decades in Brooklyn. All were very successful. They had developed their art over the same period that we developed the Brooklyn brand and brewery,” Hindy tells us. “Milton has become a friend and an important adviser and mentor to me. Over the years, many artists, designers and marketing people have tried to get me to change our direction. But Milton has taught me the importance of staying true to our Brooklyn brand, and giving meaning to that brand by supporting not-for-profit organisations and arts organisations – not just saying you support the community of Brooklyn, but doing it.” To this day, Milton and Hindy have lunch together almost weekly. The success of Brooklyn’s brand is down to this close relationship and their shared vision for the brewery. That they’ve continued to work together for more than thirty years demonstrates Hindy’s faith in Glaser’s expertise, who at eighty-seven, can still cut it amongst the new crowd. “I know what I’m doing,” Glaser claims, confidently.
American Ale Pale Ale 4.5%
Bel Air Sour Sour 5.8%
Black Chocolate Stout Russian Imperial Stout 10.0%
Black Ops Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout 11.5%
Blast! Double IPA 8.4%
Brown Ale Brown Ale 5.6%
Defender IPA IPA 6.7%
East IPA IPA 6.9%
Intensified Barrel-Aged Coffee Porter 11.8%
Framboise Framboise 7.3%
Greenmarket Wheat Hefeweizen 5.0%
1/2 Ale Saison 3.4%
Hecla Iron Ale Dark Ale 3.4%
Insulated Dark Lager 5.6%
Improved Old Fashioned Barrel-Aged Rye Ale 12.8%
‘K’ is for Kriek Barrel-Aged Abbey Ale 10.1%
Lager Amber Lager 5.2%
Local 1 Strong Ale 9.0%
Local 2 Abbey Ale 9.0%
Naranjito Pale Ale 4.5%
Oktoberfest MÃ¤rzen 5.5%
Pilsner Pilsner 5.1%
Post Road Pumpkin Ale Pumpkin Ale 5.0%
Scorcher IPA Session IPA 4.5%
Sorachi Ace Saison 7.2%
Summer Ale Pale Ale 5.0%
Tripel Burner Barrel-Aged Tripel10.6%
Cloaking Device Barrel-Aged Porter 10.5%
American Ale Pale Ale 4.5%
Black Chocolate Stout Russian Imperial Stout 10.0%
Bel Air Sour Sour 5.8%
Brown Ale Brown Ale 5.6%
East IPA IPA 6.9%
Greenmarket Wheat Hefeweizen 5.0%
Insulated Dark Lager 5.6%
Lager Amber Lager 5.2%
Oktoberfest MĂ¤rzen 5.5%
Pilsner Pilsner 5.1%
Post Road Pumpkin Ale Pumpkin Ale 5.0%
Summer Ale Pale Ale 5.0%
American Ale Pale Ale 4.5%
Black Chocolate Stout Russian Imperial Stout 10.0%
Blast! Double IPA 8.4%
Brewmasterâ€™s Reserve Various
Brown Ale Brown Ale 5.6%
The Companion Wheat Wine 9.1%
Defender IPA IPA 6.7%
East IPA IPA 6.9%
I Wanna Rye It Rye IPA 7.5%
Insulated Dark Lager 5.6%
Lager Amber Lager 5.2%
Brewmaster’s Reserve – Marie Laveau Various
Maryâ€™s Maple Porter Porter 6.9%
Monster Ale Barley Wine 11.0%
Oktoberfest MĂ¤rzen 5.5%
Pilsner Pilsner 5.1%
Post Road Pumpkin Ale Pumpkin Ale 5.0%
Quadraceratops Quadrupel 9.9%
Scorcher IPA Session IPA 4.5%
Sorachi Ace Saison 7.2%
Summer Ale Pale Ale 5.0%
Unsung Hero Saison 4.8%
Weizenhammer Weizenbock 7.8%
Wild Horse Porter Porter 8.2%
In conversation with...
Kevin Ryan Words & Photography: Simon James • Location: Service Brewing Co.
In late 2015, my fiancée and I embarked on a three month tour of the United States. Seventeen states and countless breweries, brewpubs and bars in between, one particular venue stood out; Service Brewing Co. in Savannah, Georgia. We hadn’t intended to visit Georgia, but severe storms and flooding along our route from Florida to South Carolina left us looking for alternative places to visit nearby. Obviously, arriving in an unknown city, we started by checking out the drinking options in the area. Topping the list was Service Brewing Co., a newly opened brewery in the north west of the town. Founded by ex-serviceman Kevin Ryan, the theme of service and duty runs deep throughout the brewery and their beers. Up until recently, brewers and distillers in the state of Georgia were not legally allowed to sell their beverages direct to the public – instead, they were required to sell through third party distributors. The work-around, which is common practice throughout the state, is to sell tours that come with a free tasting at the end of it. In March 2017, the State Senate and House of Representatives passed Senate Bill 85, which will allow brewers to sell – and customers to purchase – beer directly from the brewery. With the new state laws about to come into effect, we caught up with Kevin to see how things are progressing at the brewery, and what the legislative change means for the future of Service Brewing Co.
Can you tell us how you came to start Service Brewing Company? And where did the ‘service’ theme come from? I grew up in Maryland, outside of Washington DC. My mother was a nurse in the US Naval Reserves, so she had a soft spot in her heart for the navy and tried to get me into the naval academy – mostly because it was free! But as I grew up I said 'no way, no way, I’ll never go'. I wanted to be an engineer, but as I started looking at colleges, the military academy really appealed to me. It would wake me up, make me go to class and get me a good degree – that’s what got me into the military. I really enjoyed it, I served as an infantry officer for eight years, leading troops out of Colorado. I served in Iraq in 2003 and 2004 as part of the initial invasion, and was able to bring everyone home from those deployments. After that, I left the military and got into healthcare management for the next eight years; I learnt a lot about running a company, and got to experience all aspects of running a commercial business versus the pretty straightforward way that we operate in the military. Then in February 2012, my partner Meredith bought me a homebrewing kit; I started planning the brewery seven months later. I went straight from homebrewing, to reading, attending “YouTube University”, and eventually owning a full size brewery. I don’t brew on the big system – we have a brewer Austin Brown who brews the production size batches – but we all collaborate on recipes and choose which ones we want put into production. We do 118
one or two small batch research and development beers every week, either working on future beers or just having fun with some local inspiration. Tell us a bit more about Service Brewing Co. We have a thirty-barrel brewing system, we currently have three sixty-barrel fermenters and three sixty-barrel bright tanks. We’re right on the cusp of adding to those, trying to figure out if I should go sixty, ninety, or 120 on those right now. Our core beer range currently is Ground Pounder, a pale ale; Rally Point Pilsner and Compass Rose IPA. Those are all available in cans, and then we have two keg only beers; Battlewagon Double IPA and Scouts Out Honey Saison. Battlewagon uses a little bit of Savannah Bee Company honey, and Scouts Out Honey Saison uses a lot of Savannah Bee Company honey. We hope to get the Battle Wagon into cans by July 4th. We also brew a Bière de Garde called Old Guard, which is a really interesting beer. This is brewed in honour of the first female to guard the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. People don’t tend to understand this style for a number of reasons, one being not much is made in the United States. One of the reasons it’s such an interesting beer is it’s fermented with yeast harvested from our beehives. When we were searching for how to make beer and how to differentiate ourselves from other breweries, we wanted our own yeast strain that no-one else could use unless we wanted them to. So, we hired a company out of Anderson, South Carolina, called SouthYeast Labs. They came down and set traps all over Savannah to see
if we could harvest a local strain. The most viable and tasty strain came from our beehives. Bees carry up to six or seven types of bacteria in their gut at any given time, and they’re touching all the flora around town, so it’s a great opportunity to gather a whole bunch of stuff in one small space. So not only is this beer made with Savannah Bee Company honey, but it’s also fermented with yeast derived from the honeycombs. It’s a really unique beer. Do you think your theme of service and the military has helped the brewery to succeed? I’m sure there are some negative comments out there, no-one has ever said anything to our face. As we’re not overly military and we’re not exclusive and not focussed on the military side of things, we’re focussing on those who have sacrificed and served (including those who serve the community). It’s subtle, more of a recognition than it is a pronouncement. Almost everybody in the US has got some connection to the military; I’m sure it’s similar on the other side of the pond, whether personally, someone in their family, a relative, their best friend. Nearly everyone knows someone who has served locally or overseas and can at least respect the fact that they did that – they may not agree with what wars they’re fighting and what areas of engagement they’re in, but they respect the sacrifice that the individual made, and that’s what we’re trying to recognise. What are your influences and what beers do you like to drink? I got introduced to craft beer when I went out to the Air Force academy to play rugby. At the after party, one of the players handed me a New Belgium Fat Tire and it opened up a whole new world to me. When I started homebrewing I tried to brew a different style of beer every time I brewed, just to get the experience of what procedures, ingredients and timing goes into each style. So that expanded my horizons. There’s a brewery in Tennessee, called Blackberry Farms; I really respect what those guys are doing and they make some great beer, so we’re looking for an opportunity to collaborate with those guys at some point. So do you do many collaborations? We’re just two and a half years old, we want to get out and set our own agenda and identity so that people know Service Brewing Co. for what it is, rather than assigning us to someone else that we’ve done a collaboration with. We’ve brewed with other breweries in the past, but not on a “hey, let’s collaborate and put this out as a co-branded item”.
How has the craft beer movement been received in Savannah? It’s funny, somebody once did a report with fun graphics on who drinks what in the US based on sales. In Colorado you have a big beer bubble, in Kentucky there’s a whisky bubble, in California there’s a wine bubble, and in Georgia there’s a spirits bubble. But there’s a little bubble around Savannah where beer is the most consumed beverage. I think it has a lot to do with our ‘to-go cup’ rules, which allow people to get beer in a plastic cup and walk around town with it. Savannah has been very receptive to craft beer – we have three production breweries and a brew pub in town. With this new law there’s opportunity for a lot more folks to come up in the state of Georgia, especially Savannah. We have one distillery open and one chop house – which is also going to do some distilling. There’s potentially a meadery opening up in our area pretty soon too. 120
Where else are your beers currently available? We’re distributed throughout Georgia, South and North Carolina. We’ve done a little bit into Maryland and New York just for special events. There’s a company called Tavour, in Seattle WA, and they do online sales. Last summer we shipped them some of our core beers, Ground Pounder and Compass Rose, and we recently sent them some cans of Old Guard and hopefully they will be shipping in a few weeks. There’s 7,000 breweries registered with the TTB [Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau] in the US right now; we have so much work to do in Georgia, North and South Carolina, and we’re going to try and focus our efforts on these markets before we think about going anywhere else. The Brewers Association Forum teases me every few days with articles about the international market and folks really waking up to American craft beer.
I remember from my visit that, due to Georgia State laws, you cannot legally sell beer from your tap room... Yeah, it confuses a lot of folks. About sixty percent of people that come in are tourists from other states where you can buy beer from breweries directly, so they always ask why we have to sell tours with a tasting – it’s not because we want to. Not sure if you’re tracking Georgia State laws, probably not high on your radar, but we have a new bill in Congress and State this year. Assuming the governor will sign it, it allows us to sell beer directly to the consumer. We’ve been fighting to modernise the laws in Georgia since I opened the brewery and we’re starting to make some real progress – progress that’s going to put people in work and tax revenue back into the state. It will allow us to generate capital and allow us to grow as a brewery. Supporting charitable foundations is an important part of your work here at 122
Service Brewing Co. Could you tell us more about the projects you’ve been involved in? Right from the beginning, the idea was to donate a portion of our revenue to charities that support service. Though we haven’t become a profitable brewery yet, we have dedicated a portion of our revenue, rather than our profits, so we can answer our mission immediately. We focus on charities that recognise people who support and serve their country through their community. We only donate to charities that are at least ninety percent efficient – that means ninety cents of every dollar donated goes to the person receiving the benefit. At this point we’ve donated over $50,000 to different charities. We’ve supported the 200 Club, a charity which supports families of fallen fire and policemen. It started out of Detroit when a bunch of car dealers got together to help the families of first responders. That’s one of the first charities we’ve supported. We also support the Tiny House Project, which is put on by the town of Savannah authority for the homeless. They’ve purchased the land to build seventy-two houses which will allow homeless veterans to get out of the camp that they’re living in and get back on the path to a quality life.
We had a family visit the brewery who had a service dog with them. The soldier’s wife was in tears because the dog had completely changed their whole family; it got him out of his rut and back to living life again. They received that dog due to a donation we made. Obviously, it’s a demonstration that even if you give a little, it makes a difference, and reinforces the good that we’re doing. I remember seeing the tap handle project when I was over there – is that still going on? How did that come about? The tap handle project is our way to recognise the contribution that artists have made to document our history and stand alongside our soldiers in battle. My partner Meredith commissioned twenty-two artists to make patriotic-themed tap handles for us. We’re going to put out a call and invite other artists to submit their ideas so that we can add to that collection – we’d eventually like to have the largest collection of unique tap handles which would cover the whole rear of the brewery. What’s next for Service Brewing Co.? We have a bunch of stuff going on for 2017, so we converted all of our seasonal offerings from 22oz bottles to 12oz cans. It makes it a lot more approachable, folks get a better deal, a lot more value for their money. We are also trying to build some flexibility and efficiency back into the brewery. We sold 2,000 barrels in 2016, which was a twenty percent increase over 2015. Right now we’re tracking around just over twenty-six percent increase in sales to date in 2017, the draft up is over forty percent. With the new law coming in, we’d like to get to 3,500 barrels this year – it could easily increase our sales by twenty barrels a weekend. We’ve just finished construction on a barrel room – so instead of putting barrels on racks and letting the south-east heat and humidity terrorise the beer, we built a room that allows us to control the humidity and the temperature of the beer in those barrels. We’re really excited to brew some beers and put them in the barrels; we’ve been doing our small batches to validate some of the recipes and the beers that we want to do. Nothing dirty – no brett or lacto.
Cains Brewery, Stanhope Street. Commissioned by Robert Cain in 1887, Liverpoolâ€™s iconic Cains Brewery dominates the skyline in the city's Baltic Triangle. Through successive owners (Walkers of Warrington, Higsonâ€™s, Boddingtons, Whitbread, Danish Brewing Company, Dusanj Brothers) brewing continued until 2013 when, after more than 150 years, beer production ceased at the site on Stanhope Street. Though much of the stunning Victorian structure acts as a tomb to a bygone era of brewing, parts of the disused site have been transformed into a thriving creative hub, with a huge food and drinks market also set to open this summer.
Hop & Barley is a quarterly publication exploring the people and stories behind the contemporary brewing movement.
Vol. 08 | ISSN 2056-9955 | ÂŁ8.00